The Ashokan Reservoir

Driving along the banks during sunset might undoubtedly be one of the most beautiful views in Ulster County NY: The Ashokan Reservoir.

The Ashokan Reservoir is one of several reservoirs that was created to provide New York City with water. It is located at the eastern end of Ulster County, constructed during 1907-1915. While creating this deep reservoir, communities along its banks were relocated, some are still in existence, including West Shokan, Olivebridge, Ashokan and Shokan. Others are just remembered as historical markers along the roads that boarder the water.

Due to the need to ensure the safety of the water system and to make sure the damn on the Ashokan stays intact, limited activities are permitted. These include fishing and logging, both of which require a special license. If you do not have a public access permit to boat or fish that was issued after 2002, the permit is not valid and you are not allowed to partake in these activities. In an effort to keep the waterway as clean as possible, no swimming or gas powered motor craft are allowed.

Of course there are always politics that go along with a creation of this kind. Upstate, small town folk certainly do not mind providing clean water to the residents of NYC, but there is always a feeling they are being pushed around and taken advantage of. This always has been part of the reservoir’s history.

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